Travel contests are fun to enter but they come at a cost–more junk email
My morning routine is probably similar to that of many other travel bloggers: I make a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer to delete spam comments that worm their way through filters on both my blogs, and try to clear out some of the junk email that has accumulated in my email in-box overnight.
Periodically, I take a few minutes to unsubscribe to worthless email lists, many of which I never remember having subscribed to. It’s hard to control the e-mail tiger and new junk mail seems to grow exponentially at my address.
Words of caution from a travel addict
One way to reduce the clutter is to be careful about the travel contests you enter. It can be enticing to dream about the chance of winning a free trip to Bali or a cruise to Antigua for two—but by entering, you are likely to have your name added to a mailing list (make that multiple lists) that you may not want to be on. In fact, the odds of getting junk mail are far, far greater than those of winning a trip.
The latest temptation to hit my in-box came from Travel & Leisure, part of American Express Publishing. The bait was a sweepstakes offer of a “Sweet Escape” to Saint Lucia for two, including a 4-night hotel stay, round-trip airfare, a “bean to bar” tour (not sure what that is but it sounds interesting) and $250 spa certificate.
I understand that companies run contests to generate publicity. They also use them to collect names (and other identifying information) of entrants, required as a condition of entering the contest.
The spam potential for the trip to Saint Lucia, however, seemed particularly onerous. The entry form announced that the T& L was partnering with Real Simple Magazine, Women’s Health, Domino and Design Hotels on this one.
At least there was a warning before you clicked “Enter” that read:
By clicking “Enter,” I agree to receive emails from Domino, Women’s Health and emails and promotions from both Real Simple, Travel + Leisure, and its related publications.
The bottom line
Will this increased awareness stop me from entering all contests? Probably not. But it alerted me to be a little bit more savvy about the potential tradeoffs.
From time to time, I even promote some travel contests on this blog (knowing that other people are just as addicted to travel). But I try to read the fine print before posting to make sure it isn’t too onerous for me or my readers. I’m glad I did that this time.
Do you enter travel contests?